The home-buying process consists of several steps, which may be confusing for the uninitiated. A mortgage lender usually conducts an appraisal on the property you want to buy to get an estimate on the property value. This helps the lender determine whether the purchase price is reasonable. After an appraisal, you need to go through a few more steps to complete the home-buying process.
Getting the Appraisal Report
The federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) requires your lender or mortgage broker to let you know that you can get a copy of the appraisal report if you ask for one. The details regarding how and when you can obtain this appraisal report may vary from state to state, but your lender or mortgage broker can let you know the specifics. For example, in California, you have to submit a written application for the appraisal report.
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After the lender conducts an appraisal, you have the right to carry out your own inspection of the property. You can hire a professional home inspector to check for the features of the property you need to replace or repair. You get an estimate for the costs of any replacements or repairs. You can use the inspection report to back out of the deal or renegotiate the purchase terms. For example, you may agree to buy the property at the previously set price only if the seller repairs a leak in the roof.
After receiving your appraisal report, the lender gets an underwriter to review your mortgage loan. If the lender approves your loan, you get a document listing the requirements you have to meet before continuing with the process. You may have to provide proof of availability of flood insurance and fire insurance, as an example. The lender might also ask for clarification regarding items on your credit report or the appraisal report.
Closing refers to a meeting to finalize the property purchase deal. You work with a closing agent, who prepares your documents and gets you to sign them. You have to pay the down payment and closing costs on this day, so prepare your funds beforehand. The closing agent gives you the keys to the property after you sign the paperwork and make the necessary payments. You then get the title to the property and officially own the house.